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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on February 26, 2003
This is a pretty cute show. It has excellent animation, a good story, and good music. My beef with it is that the show ends after a couple of episodes--it just stops.
This is an OVA, and the Sakura Wars TV series comes after it. And both come after the game.
I think I should have had a little knowledge of the games before I watched this, since it just picked up with the Demons. It didn't give ANY background on the Demons at all, which had me lost for the first episode or two. But as it went along I stopped worrying about how and why the Demons existed/were there and focused on the show itself.
The dubbing in both versions is top notch. I personally prefer the English version. Since the girls are from various countries, not just Japan, they cannot be expected to speak Japanese all that well, and without an accent.But in the English, we get to hear the girls in their "native" tongues and with "native" accents. What I mean is this: The French girl *sounds* French (and she even speaks in French when we first meet her). The Russian Maria has a definitive Russian accent, which comes across very well even though we never get to hear her speak in Russian. And the Chinese teenager talks with a Chinese accent, and also speaks in Chinese.
So, watch this. You won't regret doing so, but you might want to watch the TV series just to get a little better idea of what is going on. Or get (or at least see) the games.
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on February 12, 2000
I have heard the negatives of Sakura Wars and I have heard the positives. I for one think it is a wonderful video. The soundtrack by Kouhei Tanaka is one of the best I have ever had the pleasure of hearing and I have a most extensive collection of over 150. After ordering the soundtrack CD from Japan and listening to it at length I find I enjoy this DVD more than ever. Without a doubt it sports one of the best opening songs ever (at least as far as the get you up and going factor) and the track used for the big ending battle in the 4th chapter is truly a work of art. It is a great piece that is woven expertly into the fight. An excellent arrangement which brings home the strength and power of the series. I recommend the soundtrack most highly as well as the DVD. That battle in the 4th chapter would make an excellent demo of an audio video system as well. The story is also great. Granted it is not always the smoothest thing going and yes it does have its silly moments as well, but it is a compelling story which is presented well. One caution though-do NOT listen to the English dub! It is horrific and changes what are decent lines and sometimes really good lines into fodder for toddlers. Here is an example from the 4th chapter, "Let's get those evil nasty Demons. They are bad." Ugh! Bear with the subtitles and you will be much happier for it. It is sad that companies feel they have to dumb things down for American audiences. I love Anime and it physically hurts me to see such great movies like Mononoke and Windaria as well as this one ripped from the guts by English lines that are infantile or delivered with the enthusiasm of a rock. Passion is an ingredient in many Anime movies and it is one often removed in the English edit-not always (Grave of the Fireflies) but often. As long as you don't listen to the sometimes insultingly bad English dialog this will pan out to be a wonderful movie to watch. Get it! I love it!
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on November 29, 2001
The anime, Sakura Wars, is based off a game for sega saturn (I think, I could be wrong). I've never actually played the game before I bought the anime, so I'm not sure how true the anime stays to the plot of the game.
With that out of the way, I might as well start listing the pros and cons of this anime. Pros: beautiful animation, bright colors, cute characters, light humor sprinkled throughout the 4 episodes. The humor in this anime is not hentai, and there are no hentai scenes whatsoever in this, so if you are a hentai fan, stay away! Cons: IT'S NOT LONG ENOUGH! Four episodes aren't nearly enough for this story. The first two episodes start out slowly, which isn't bad because the information given provides a base for the rest of the episodes. However, right when the enemy of the story is revealed (during the fourth episode), the episodes end! It's a disappointment.... it leaves the viewer craving for more.
Other information to mention: This is an action anime with a cast of mainly girls. If you prefer an anime with guys as the main characters... well, at least give this a chance. There are a few main guy characters, after all, and the Sakura Wars cast is a wonderful mix... the characters grow on you.
I gave this anime 3 stars only because the story is compressed into four episodes. Although the animation is lovely, this could have been so much better than it is.
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on May 4, 2004
From the acclaimed television and OVA series comes the full length movie of Sakura Wars. The animation is much better in this movie and when you watch the Oobu being loaded on the transporter bullet engine you are in for a wild treat.
Some characters may appear to be flately drawn but this is a more somber and darker movie.
If not familier with the characters do not get this first but buy the TV series then the OVA series followed by this movie. It is then that you will understand the characters. I would have given it a 5 star, but the extended CGI loading and launching of the bullet engine was a bit distracting from the story line.
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VINE VOICEon February 19, 2016
Unfortunately, Amazon has combined the reviews of several unrelated Sakura Taisen and Sakura Wars DVD's; this first is a review of Sakura Taisen: Sumire.

Whenever an actor or actress decides to retire from a long running franchise, it poses a difficult choice. Do you try to continue with a replacement or do you retire the character as well? What makes this so extraordinary is that I've never heard of anyone doing this before: creating an OVA in which retiring voice and stage actress Michie Tomizawa voices the retirement performance of her Sakura Taisen character Sumire Kanzaki.

The plot premise is that Sumire has reached the age where her Spirit Energy has faded to the point she can no longer operate her koubu, and thus can no longer fight demons so rather than hang around merely as an actress, she decides to retire while she's on top and go on to other things, probably working on koubu improvements at her father's company since a wealthy life of leisure holds no appeal for her. The result is a predictable weep fest for her colleagues and an only somewhat surprising attempt on her part to encourage Sakura to step up as her replacement in the spotlight.

Frankly, I never understood why a bunch of spirit warriors would want to pass as a troupe of actresses in the first place, other than the fact that the creator Hiroi Ohji wanted them to, but this beautiful farewell provides a lot more justification. Of course Michie Tomizawa only retired because she was getting married, not for health reasons, so the chances of her and her character returning in more limited ways in the future are actually pretty good, but the spotlight has certainly been passed.

Note: This is a VERY short DVD! The main feature is only 24 minutes long and the Special Features, most of which are Ohji and her fellow voice actresses singing Michie's praises, are only 14 minutes long.

Note: The Sakura Wars TV: Complete Collection varies rather significantly from the plot of the first game, which means it varies from most other Sakura Wars or Sakura Taisen anime that follow the games more closely such as the original Sakura Wars OVA, the OVA series: Sakura Wars 2 OVA - Return of the Spirit Warriors (Vol. 1) and Sakura Wars 2 OVA - Wedding Bells (Vol. 2), the Sakura Taisen - Ecole De Paris OVA, and the Sakura Wars: Movie. This OVA follows the movie.

This second is a review of the original Sakura Wars OVA also which varies considerably from the Sakura Wars TV: Complete Collection and more closely resembles the games. It starts earlier than the TV series, which means you get to watch the creation of the Flower Division Combat Troupe, It also explains why the girls were asked to be dancers, singers, and actresses: to increase their spirit power. It also better explains the reasoning behind wanting a male commander of the girls.

Defects? Yes, the complete lack of anything resembling an ending. After a couple of battles against the demons and a couple of successful stage productions, the story just ends.

Note: In addition to being sold separately, this DVD is also included in the Sakura Wars OVA Collection.
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on November 26, 1999
These four episodes (about 120 minutes) are very nicely done, and they serve as the perfect prequel to the very popular Sakura Taisen import game series. The story is interesting with well designed main characters, and it incorporates many elements of the Japanese culture on war and romance with a touch of Western influence... well maybe more than just a touch... ^_^; The soundtrack is really beautiful, and the animation style is very smooth and vivid, resembling in part the Wings of Honneamise with a bit of GunBuster. Note: If you like the music you may want to hunt down the official Sakura Taisen 2 Soundtrack CD: (Japanese import, MJCA-00021, released on 1998/4/29 by Marvelous Entertainment, Inc.) It has 14 beautiful tracks sung by the different voice actors (seiyuu) Also, hopefully Sega will release Sakura Taisen 3 for the Dreamcast in the U.S. as well, so more of us can experience this excellent strategy/sim. Write to them asking for it if you want this so they don't make the same mistake as they did with Grandia. One final note: If you can, buy the DVD version but barring that, get the subtitled VHS version because the Japanese voice actors are much better. The English voice actors are also decent, but the original voices seem to suit the characters much better and the subtitling translation is also more accurate. All-in-all Sakura Wars (Sakura Taisen) looks like a well balanced series, worth watching, and I for one look forward to seeing the next four episodes on DVD. I would highly recommend both this DVD and the original game series. Enjoy!
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on June 5, 2000
One year has passed since when I bought the volume of this series. And you want to know what? I still watch on a near constant basis^_^! But with a crack team of production members, what is there not to like about this series?
From my standpoint, nothing(if you are watching the sub version, dub is just makes it slightly worse). The character's are beautiful both from a artistry standpoint and the personallities of the characters themselves(what do you expect when they come from the capable pen of Kosuke Fujishima, my personal favorite manga author. Never are they dull, boring, annoying(well, Iris dubbed can get kinda grating...) or my personal favorite lecherous. They dont try to go to the "next step" with the male lead because in no way would it further the plot line or character development. As the series contiues, you begin to notice one of the strongest points of the series, the music! Never have heard such beautifuly composed music in an anime(well, execpt for maybe Escaflowne). The music is just so amazing to me, its just so friggin' hard for me to put it into words! EXTREMELY WELL COMPOSSED seems like an understatement. The Direction of the series is also one of its major strong points. The action is always clear and there is never a question on what is going on. During the scene's where Sakura is in her homeland, you can see the passing seasons as time goes by. What else can I put here? Oh, the backrounds are extremely well crafted. The mecha battle scenes are short, but well done. But the one thing that truly makes me love this series is the intercast conflicts. With a series thats based around fighting demons, its kinda of hard to accpoplish this when everybodie's at eachothers throat. This in and of its self makes the series very enjoyable from my standpoint.
But it if there is one flaw to the series that if you walk into it blindly(I had some backround info on the series before hand), is that the plot line WILL no doubt be confusing(knowing of the game, character releationship's helps. Well, that and as usual the dubbing is just sub-par, but still tolerable.
So in the end, what are you left with? A true sleeper hit! Sure, it wont reach Escaflowne or Evangelian(EW! NASTY) hit status, but you will(or should) walk away pretty statisfied. Plus, if we are lucky, maybe we will see the second ova series in the near future(or the movie, or the TV series).
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on November 15, 2004
Based on the original Sakura Wars OVA and Television Series comes Sakura Taisen. Sumire Kanzaki, the inventor of the Kobo is loosing her powers to control the spirit armor.

This short one episode DVD (only 24 minutes) sets up the remainder of the story line to come.

Originally a ADV film release (Sakura Wars OVA and Sakura War TV)this story line takes place shortly after the Sakura Wars (The Movie) (a Pioneer Entertainment Release).

This group of stories is released by Funaimation Productions. Several of the voice actors who have become so familier in the original Sakura Wars OVA and Television DVD's return to bring a close to their characters.

Sumire, who is now in her early twenty's has lost the ability to control the Kobo and she feels she has lost the ability to perform on stage. In an effort to retire gracefully we are treated to scenes from her past. Those who have the entire series on DVD will be in for a treat as some of these scenes have never been seen before in the United States on DVD.

Sumire performs one last time on the Imperial Stage and it is a bit of a surprise for some her fellow members to whom she wants to pass the "torch" to.

Sakura Shinguji.

Still clutzy and falling over her two feet, we are treated to an older Sakura now approaching her very late teens. Well worth the purchase and for the follow up DVD's that are to follow.
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on September 5, 2000
This 4-part OAV/OVA is spiritual swordfighting steam mecha action/comedy set in the early 20th century. What I love the most are the lovely characters designed by Kousuke Fujishima (Oh My Goddess!, You're Under Arrest). The story, which revolves around Sakura, progresses slowly from one episode to the next, and teaches about group unity and the "can do" attitude. I haven't played the game, but I think I understand the plot quite well. While the Flower Division is not fighting demons (that look like Aliens), it performs a theatrical show. The 3rd and 4rth episodes don't have Aliens as enemies but other steam robots from the "Black Roots of Evil", and I don't get what their motives are at all. Oh well. What appeals more to me are the character interactions. The humor is among the most tasteful I've seen in any anime - very innocent, not overdone. The music is tops, especially the orchestral accompaniment. The animation? Flawless. Almost Disney-like in brightness and smoothness, but better because of the shading. The DVD is done very well, but sometimes disobeys when I set the language and subtitles (Preferred: subtitled; a lot of humor loses its effect when dubbed).
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on September 7, 2002
With the Sakura Wars video game coming next year, the Sakura Wars 2 OVAs coming out in October, this Sakura Wars DVD was released awhile ago in the USA. Actually, this charm is the Sakura Wars 1 OVA. This will make more sense when the game comes out next year. ^____^ (Get the game!!!)
This DVD is a real treat for us Sakura Wars fans with rich animation (unlike the Sakura Wars TV episodes) and loveable characters. The first 2 or 3 episodes take place before the game and the last two episodes take place somewhere in the game's course. This is why people are like "what the heck happened?!" between each episode. This DVD dragged me into the Sakura Wars fandom...which I do not regret! ^_^v Get the second OVAs in October, you won't regret buying this DVD or anything else Sakura Wars, believe me.
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